Winter Driving Tips

The sight of snow is a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of Connecticut's weather. To help prepare state drivers for the winter driving season, the Connecticut Department of Transportation suggests a blend of common sense and preparation.

Snow plow on RT 2While CTDOT prides itself on clearing the state's highways and bridges of snow and ice during and after storms, the winter season does impose special conditions on motorists, their driving habits and vehicles. Safe winter driving requires a balance of common sense and preparation.


  • How to deal with ice and snow!

  • Keep clear of plows!

  • Don't plow driveway snow onto state highways!

    To prepare, CTDOT suggests drivers should:

  • Keep your car in shape. Have the engine tuned. Check headlamps, tire tread, brakes, windshield washer fluid, heater and other safety equipment. Keep the fuel tank filled, topping it off before reaching half a tank. Carry a flashlight, flares, sand, a shovel, and cell phone charger.

  • Clear car windows, hood and roof before starting to drive.

  • Keep windshield wipers and defoggers in good condition. Visibility is not only a good safety idea, it's a state law. A snowbrush, ice scraper and gloves are a wise investment.

  • Travel on main routes. The most traveled roadways are usually cleared and treated first. A short cut down a back road might not save any time if the road hasn't been plowed. Also, if help is required, main roads are usually the best patrolled.

  • Ride together to work -- in a carpool or vanpool or, if possible, take the bus or train. Leave the car at home or at a CTDOT Park & Ride Lot. Road-clearing operations will be more successful with fewer vehicles on the road. Plus, riding together saves money and gasoline, reduces auto wear and tear, reduces harmful emissions and is more enjoyable.

  • Try to avoid travel during rush hours. Commuters should ask employers about "flexing" work hours during a winter storm. Avoiding peak travel hours will give road crews added time to work, while letting commuters avoid most of the traffic.

  • Always assume road conditions are worse than they are and allow additional travel time. Drive cautiously and courteously.

  • Tune to radio stations and internet sites ( that provide regular weather bulletins and reports on road conditions.